The intersection of technology and leadership

Learning with lunchtime videos

One of the greatest things I appreciate about my work colleagues is their passion for learning and growing themselves as people. As an example, one of my work colleagues, Duana (@starkcoffee), brought in the practice of Friday lunchtime video sessions at a common client of ours last year.

To make it effective, and to make it relevant to all people, she worked with everyone to brainstorm a list of videos that we could watch over lunch. We would bring sandwiches, or grab food to bring back to the office where we sat in a meeting room watching these videos over lunch. The goal was to try to watch a video that worked not just one part of the brain that we used in day-to-day programming, but to watch videos that would inspire and exercise the other half.

I really enjoyed the practice and need to remind myself of this great ritual. It brought people together from different parts of the organisations, and was great watching a number of different topics from different areas. We watched a number of videos from technical sources loaded onto places like InfoQ, or Vimeo and sourced a number of other “alternative” videos from sites like TED or Youtube. The challenge was finding two short videos that you could watch over a lunch-hour, so we tended to go for 15-20 minute videos.

Here’s a list of great videos to get you started:


  1. Stephen Reed

    Another few inspirational vids are:

    Wikispeed TED talk on building a 100MPG car in 3 months using volunteers

    The lone dancing guy – leadership and followers

    Both can be found on youtube.

  2. Ryan McCollum

    I introduced the same type of thing at our company under the title “Popcorn Sessions”. These were completely voluntary and ended up being quite successful. We concentrated mostly on 1 hour technical talks from the likes of QCon, but your suggestion for “alternative” videos is worth a try…

  3. Patrick

    @Stephen – Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll have to look at them.

    @Ryan – I like the name “Popcorn Sessions”

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